2011 Season in Review: Catchers

Buster Posey: When we look back on Posey’s 2011 season, this will inevitably be what we remember. Posey only played in 45 games before the collision, but it’s worth noting that he had quite the impact (considering how few games he played in). Despite not even tallying 200 plate appearances, he finished third on the team in wins above replacement at 1.6; we can’t take too much from his overall numbers (.284/.368/.389), but he showed an improved walk rate (and much less power) when he was healthy. Ideally, the power will come back next season, and Posey will continue to draw more walks. In any event, 2011 for Posey will always ultimately be defined by the Cousins collision.

Hector Sanchez: There’s not much to be said for Sanchez’s time in the majors because it didn’t last all that long. He appeared in a total of 13 games this year, posting a .258/.324/.323 line in 34 plate appearances. Obviously those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, but as a prospect, Sanchez certainly boosted his status. I ranked him sixth in my prospect rankings (an admittedly aggressive placement).

Eli Whiteside: After taking a regular role in the wake of Posey’s injury, Whiteside was everything the Giants could have expected — which is to say that he was awful. In 236 plate appearances, he hit .197/.264/.310, posting a wRC+ of 55. His defense, too, was pretty awful. Fangraphs had him at slightly above replacement level on the season, while Baseball-Reference had him at -0.5 wins.

This was pretty awesome though. As was his hopping.

Chris Stewart: Stewart proved to be the better of the two (Whiteside/Stewart) as he was actually an asset on defense. Defensive runs saved is an oversimplified evaluation of catcher defense, but it had Stewart at +9 runs above average in ~500 innings of work behind the plate. Matt Klaasen’s more all-encompassing catcher defense ratings had Stewart at +3.2 runs (also quite good). In any event, he — like Whiteside — failed to be productive on offense, putting up a .204/.283/.309 line. For what it’s worth though, he had pretty solid plate discipline (0.89 BB/K) and good contact skills (89%); unfortunately, it just didn’t translate into success for him.

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